The Tasmanian state government and federal government are contributing a combined $20 million for two water infrastructure projects to support local farmers.
The money will go to a distribution network for recycled water and a 100 megalitre storage dam in the Bicheno region ($17.1 million), and an upgrade of the 140-year-old Lake Leake Dam to extend its useful life by a further 100 years ($3 million).
In a statement announcing the funding, minister for infrastructure, transport and regional development Barnaby Joyce said the construction projects would create about 37 jobs. He added that supporting local farmers would also stimulate the economy to generate work opportunities and lift local living standards.
“The federal government is getting the job done, building the water infrastructure Australians need to live, grow and get ahead.
“A safe and reliable water supply will help unlock the economic potential of new and expanded agricultural opportunities, and that’s what these projects will achieve in Tasmania,” Joyce said.
Tasmanian primary industries and water minister Guy Barnett said the two water projects would help achieve the state government’s $10 billion farm-gate value target for Tasmanian agriculture by 2050.
“The Lake Leake project we are announcing today will ensure the ongoing supply of critical irrigation water (16.6 gigalitres per year of water for crop and livestock production) for future generations of farmers in the Macquarie catchment,” Barnett said of the project costing the state $12.1 million.
“The Bicheno recycled water project will provide a highly reliable irrigation supply which will underpin the expansion of high-value cropping in the greater Bicheno area,” he added.
Claire Chandler, an LNP Senator for Tasmania, said the federal government had committed more than $156 million towards the development and construction of water infrastructure projects in Tasmania.
“The East Coast of Tasmania is prone to drought conditions, and these projects located in the East Coast and Northern Midlands areas will provide farmers and producers with increased access to vital water sources, as well as increase drought resilience in these communities,” Chandler said.